LANZHOU -- The Chinese are facing growing cancer risk from dioxin due to changes in their dietary patterns over the past three decades, a research has found.
Changes in dietary patterns, featured by decreasing consumption of grain and vegetables and increasing intake of animal-derived food, raised cancer risk from 0.2 percent in 1980 to about 1.2 percent in 2009, according to a research finding published Thursday in Scientific Reports, an affiliated magazine of Nature.
Varying dietary patterns contributed 17 percent to the cancer risk of Chinese population in 2009, compared with 8 percent in 1980, according to the thesis, authored by Lanzhou University Professor Ma Jianmin and Dr. Huang Tao.
Meanwhile, residents in urban and eastern China were exposed to considerably higher cancer risk to dioxin than those in rural areas and western China, due to higher emissions, household income and greater intake of animal-derived foodstuff such as meat, eggs and dairy products, the thesis said.
It said increasing dioxin emissions from the iron and steel and thermal power industries as well as cremation of wastes were also to blame for higher cancer risk from dioxin.
"But food ingestion is still the major route for human exposure and body burden to dioxin," said Prof Ma.
While the Chinese government has stepped up efforts to cut dioxin emissions, he said it is increasingly important to raise public awareness of cancer risks in food and convince people to take a healthier diet.